April 2009

Pondering Papers

I've been watching the first two seasons of Babylon 5 of late on Hulu, where they're currently available for free as streaming (Flash-based) video. Babylon 5

is an SF show that's no longer aired, but that I'm exceedingly fond of. It's set in 2025, on a space station. In an episode of Season 2 called "Divided Loyalties," at the very start of the episode, two characters meet at a newspaper kiosk. Each carries a printed paper from the previous day, which is deposited in a slot in the kiosk. A digital voice acknowledges the paper to be recycled and crediting their account. The voice then asks questions about the content they wish to be included in that day's paper. They each answer in turn, wait a minute, and a printed, familiarly shaped newspaper drops into a slot at the base of the kiosk.

Death of a Great American Hero – The Newspaper

Death of a Great American Hero – The Newspaper

“But o’ where shall we ever get our news!?!”  This question is but one of many surrounding the decline of the once great information giant, the American newspaper industry.  With many papers already closing shop some of the big players, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are finding themselves in deep water.  So who is killing them?  What should we do about it?  And perhaps most importantly, should we just let it die?